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As WarioWare: Touched was called upon to bolster the launch lineup for the DS, so too WarioWare: Smooth Moves was timed to give the Wii an early boost. Again the WarioWare team prove their imaginative worth with an impressively varied game.
Party games have existed since video games first began. They are typified by their short duration and simple tasks. More recently, the entertainment of mini-game based releases has focused on variety, novelty and quantity of experiences on offer in a single package.
WarioWare: Smooth Moves delivers a series of quick fire mini games. Each game is a riddle in its own right. The challenge is to make the connection between the one word instruction, mini-game visuals and a real world task. The written and graphical clues are such that any player young or old should be able to take a guess at what they need to do.
WarioWare: Smooth Moves, as its name suggests is all about motion. Each level takes the Wii-mote and uses it in a variety of different scenarios that create not just a new experience, but a new grammar for this unusual controller. Umbrella, Handlebar, Butler and Pogo are just some of the ways they instruct the player to position the controller before each puzzle.
Although the game suitable services the motion controlled intentions of the Wii, it doesn't really get to grips with the playing together aspect of Nintendo's new console. Which, to be fair only became clear a year or so after that initial launch. It is a shame that the multiplayer games are locked to begin with - you have to play through the single player game before you get to play them. Also, the majority of the games are limited to one player at a time. Even WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party on Gamecube provided a portion of simultaneous multiplayer fun, so this is a real omission.
The unusual interactions that are created with the Wii-mote's different uses are executed with mind bending and hilarious effect as players strain their brains and body's to solve the various puzzles. This physical nature of the game makes it ideal after dinner fun. But more than these individual highs, it is the overall quality of each and every level that makes the game such a joy to play.
Although this is a mini-game experience, each set of levels tie together a string of themed games and take a good five to ten minutes each. It is worth setting aside half an hour or so to play this game. WarioWare not only has plenty of replay value, but should last a good six to seven hours first time through.
You also need a good amount of space in front of the TV - particularly if you are playing with (or being watched by) a few other people. Some of the motions mean you need sufficient space to twirl and jump around.
Although all the WarioWare games are suitable for novice and experience players, WarioWare: Smooth Moves brings the experience to an older more family focused audience. Its physical nature, combine with its party game credential to make it a great talking point or novelty to play after eating with friends - a nice distraction to go with the coffee and mints.
The necessity of reading the introductory one word clues and the limited time mean that very young players will struggle. But in a family setting, a few prompts for other team members soon set them on the right path. The Wii's controllers also include the widest range of players as they require less fine dexterity that other WarioWare games.
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